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WASHINGTON ADOPTS TOUGH OIL SPILL RESPONSE REGULATIONS

       WASHINGTON ADOPTS TOUGH OIL SPILL RESPONSE REGULATIONS
    OLYMPIA, Wash., Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington has become the second West Coast state to adopt the country's most stringent oil spill regulations, the Department of Ecology and the Office of Marine Safety announced today.  The regulations become effective Dec. 6 for owners or operators of oil handling facilities and pipelines, and Jan. 1, 1992, for owners or operators of tank vessels, cargo vessels and passenger vessels.
    Last month, Alaska adopted a comprehensive set of regulations after more than two years of work following the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  California and Oregon are expected to adopt similar rules within a few months.
    Washington's regulations, which require state-approved oil spill contingency plans, are required under the 1991 Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act.  The rules also include standards for primary oil spill cleanup response contractors.
    "When an oil spill occurs, immediate action by the responsible party is critical," said Ecology Director Chris Gregoire.  "The newly adopted regulations will ensure that adequate spill response equipment is available and that timely and appropriate response actions take place."
    Gregoire said the four states have been working closely together through the States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force to ensure that consistent and tough oil spill regulations will be in place along the Pacific Coast.
    "We are clearly leading the rest of the country and the federal government in getting adequate regulations in place," Gregoire added.
    Contingency plans address the many facets of spill response, including the actions necessary to stop spills, initiate cleanup and prevent the spill from endangering the state's natural resources.
    Gregoire said contingency plans for offshore facilities and onshore facilities capable of storing one million or more gallons of oil need to be submitted for approval to Ecology by May 5.  All other onshore facilities have until Jan. 1, 1993.
    The deadline for submitting plans to the Office of Marine Safety is May 5, 1992, for tank vessels of 300 gross tons or more.  Cargo and passenger vessels, and all other tank vessels have until May 1993.
    Office of Marine Safety officials said adoption of the oil spill response regulations is a first-step measure the state is taking to protect the environment from oil spills.  Other measures addressing prevention will be developed during the next year.  Regulations to carry out the spill prevention provisions of the new state oil spill law relating to facilities are expected to be adopted in July 1992.
    -0-                        11/21/91
    /CONTACT:  Denise Clifford, 206-493-9400, or Ron Holcomb, 206-459-6149, both of the Washington State Department of Ecology/ CO:  Washington State Department of Ecology ST:  Washington IN:  OIL SU: SC-LM -- SE006 -- 5971 11/21/91 14:09 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 21, 1991
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